Go to Church, Live Longer
A report in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine finds that people who attend church regularly may have a lower risk for premature death. Using data from a long-term study of more than 75,000 women, researchers discovered that compared with people who never went to church, those who went to some religious service more than once a week had a 33 percent lower risk for death from any cause.
The researchers did find that some variables in the available data, e.g., the existence of a social support system and a tendency not to smoke cigarettes likely contributed to the overall effect. But researchers also stressed that, no matter how the data were analyzed, church attendance alone appeared to impart some benefits.
"This suggests that there is something powerful about the communal religious experience," said senior author Tyler J. VanderWeele, a professor of epidemiology at Harvard, quoted in the New York Times. "These are systems of thought and practice shaped over millennia, and they are powerful."
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